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 Enfant 5 ans, kidnappée de son domicile (US)

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Date d'inscription : 21/09/2007

MessageSujet: Enfant 5 ans, kidnappée de son domicile (US)   Jeu 8 Oct - 12:30

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2006
Bylined to: Sara Olkon

Venezuelan grandparents returned girl to police; hopped a plane back home

The Miami Herald (Sara Olkon): Was Martin Diez a noble but misguided do-gooder or a violent and self-righteous moralizer who deserves to go to prison? Jurors are expected to deliberate the matter this afternoon.

Diez admitted to jurors last week that he dressed up as a cop and kidnapped 5-year-old Elizabeth Lopez from her mother's Hollywood home in June 21, 2004. He explained that he did this because he heard the girl ... whom he'd never met ... was in danger.

Diez, 34, said he meant no harm.

The state isn't buying it ... prosecutors have charged him with four felonies, including armed kidnapping and burglary. If convicted, he could go to prison for life.

The self-imagined superhero showed up outside the Lopez' front door on Jackson Street, flashing a police badge and brandishing a gun. He said it was only a laser gun; the state says it was a bazooka.

Once inside, Diez threw Elizabeth's mother, Eunice Lopez, on the ground, handcuffed her and demanded the child's legal papers and passport so she could return with her maternal grandparents to Venezuela. He then delivered the girl to her grandparents who were waiting in a South Beach condo. The couple, frightened after an Amber alert was issued for Elizabeth, immediately returned the girl to police and hopped a plane back to Venezuela.

''One thing he is not, by any stretch, is a hero,'' said Assistant State Attorney Melissa Vaughan during closing arguments Monday. She said Diez judged Eunice Lopez, Elizabeth's mom, as a ''horrible'' person because she worked as a stripper, had a child out of wedlock and was living with her boyfriend.

''Eunice Lopez has every right to raise her child,'' Vaughan said.

Defense attorney John Contini evoked the Bible and the spirit of forgiveness to argue that his client is a passionate and loving man driven to intervene in a custody dispute because he didn't trust the state to keep the child safe.

Moreover, Contini argued, Diez was on as many as five medications, including the painkiller OxyContin, and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his own childhood sexual and physical abuse.

''His heart was right,'' said Contini, who reminded jurors several times that Lopez worked at Tootsie's Cabaret.

One juror, a woman, folded her arms across her chest and shot Contini a disapproving look as he once again mentioned her vocation and inferred that she might use drugs.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations sometime after 1:30 this afternoon in Circuit Judge Stanton Kaplan's Fort Lauderdale courtroom.

http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=58512
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